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Research and development helps us to realise ArcelorMittal’s ambitions in technological innovation and sustainability

Investing in the future

Innovative thinking is encouraged across the company, thanks to the influence of ArcelorMittal’s research and development team

Research and development (R&D) helps us to realise ArcelorMittal’s ambitions in technological innovation, to support its sustainability goals as well as ensuring future growth. Its influence permeates all parts of the business, with the result that innovative thinking is encouraged across the business – at all levels.

Our mission is to:

  • develop products that create value for customers and expand the use of ArcelorMittal’s steels worldwide;
  • improve ArcelorMittal’s competitiveness by developing new industrial processes – and optimising existing ones – to reduce cost and improve quality;
  • contribute to sustainable development by reducing the environmental impact of products and processes; and
  • continuously upgrade ArcelorMittal’s scientific knowledge and attract technical talent.

With 1,300 full-time researchers in 12 research centres across the globe, our R&D is highly business oriented, ensuring a shorter time to market and improved competitiveness in a variety of sectors.

Our activities are focused on seven key areas.

Automotive

Innovations include high strength steels (HSS) and advanced high strength steels (AHSS) with high mechanical properties enabling large energy absorption, and electrical steels with low loss and high permeability, which are used in hybrid and electrical vehicles. Innovations also include the design and deployment of automotive solutions and a range of technical services for customers. Additionally, our innovative surface treatment and coating optimise costs.

Packaging

Activities include the development of low-thickness steels. We also work to design new packaging concepts, for example bottle cans. Part of our service includes offering customers technical advice for continuous improvement or new applications (Creasteel™), and we also give technical support for new industrial lines or improved product quality.

Construction

ArcelorMittal has achieved improvements in thermal efficiency, acoustics, safety (for example, fire-resistant steels) and protection against seismic risk. The R&D team has also developed calculation software for the design of steel structures and technical assistance in mechanical design and fire engineering. We also offer cost-efficient coatings with improved corrosion resistance.

General industry

Innovations address customers’ requirements in terms of cost and weight savings, environmental friendliness and corrosion resistance to name a few for appliance and metal processing applications.

Advanced High Strength Steels (AHSS) with high mechanical properties and new metallic coatings with cut-edge protection and reduction of zinc coating mass such as Magnelis® account for innovative products and solutions launched recently.

Energy market

A range of high-performance and high-durability materials (pipes, plates and electrical steels) has been developed for the energy market. ArcelorMittal addresses customers’ needs for steel with properties including heavy gauge, high strength, corrosion resistance and improved welding.

Long products

Spanning research in two main areas – structural carbon steels and bars and wires – our long products activities are diverse.

For structural long products, we are principally involved in developing new applications, products and technical solutions to facilitate the use of steel in construction. We also develop user-friendly software for pre-design, dedicated to engineering offices and architects. Linked to our work to facilitate steel in construction, we develop and influence international codes of practice for the easier use of steel.

For bars and wires, our R&D focuses on the development of new products (metallurgies and surfaces), mainly for the automotive and mechanical construction industries. We also work on improving manufacturing and service properties, for example addressing fatigue and corrosion issues, as well as providing product quality support to ArcelorMittal steel plants.

Special plates

R&D works on new steel grades and speciality plate projects including those involving stainless steel, mould and tool-steel, armour steel, abrasion-resistant steel, pressure vessel, construction and cryogenic steel.

Process R&D

Our research on the process of steelmaking is indispensable for using new steel products. Through improved productivity, it also helps reduce costs and improve environmental performance, resulting in reduced emissions, increased recycling and energy efficiency.

Our process R&D is divided into upstream process, from raw material selection to casting, and downstream process, from hot rolling to coating and finishing operations.

Innovation in action

We’re proud to be one of the leading players in the EU-sponsored Ultra-Low CO2 Steel-making project, or ULCOS. We’re working with 48 other companies across Europe to reduce carbon emissions from steelmaking by 30-70% by the year 2050.

Four possible routes are now being tested on an industrial scale. Most will require carbon capture and storage technology. We’re already seeing promising results from a gas recycling project at an experimental blast furnace in Sweden, which reduces the amount of coke needed in the furnace and uses oxygen to remove unwanted nitrogen, making carbon capture easier. At present, we are testing new equipment for this project at our plant in Eisenhüttenstadt, Germany. The company has also sought European support for a full demonstration plant, which would include geological storage of CO2, at our site in Florange, France.

We’re also working independently on a number of sustainable new products and processes, from more efficient processes in our own plants to the production of new electrical steels that drastically reduce energy loss for the car industry and electrical engineering.

In the long term we may find answers to climate change in some of the breakthrough technologies we’re exploring in partnership with leading universities across the globe. These include nanomaterials (substances with extremely small particles) and biomimetic materials (manmade substances that mimic natural ones).

Smart packaging

Lighter, safer, greener: a new era for steel and cars

Smart packaging

ArcelorMittal is at the forefront of the steel for packaging industry. Driven by an ambition to lead and a thirst for innovation, we aim to add value for all our customers.

ArcelorMittal Flat Carbon Europe (FCE), the leading steelmaker in the European steel for packaging market, recognises that technical collaboration is the key to innovation. Our FCE team has developed numerous cutting-edge research and development (R&D) initiatives – such as the recent packaging thickness reduction programme.

The programme set out to further increase steel’s competitive edge in the packaging industry, by reducing its overall thickness. By making steel packaging thinner, significant cost savings can be made – reducing the cost to the customer.

Collaborating with R&D, the FCE team created new steel grades that combine high strength and excellent formability, to reduce the thickness of packaging.

Examples of this process include the Maleis™ system for easy-open ends, or a tab to open the can that combines double cold-reduced material yield and tensile strengths with the formability of standard rolled cold-reduced material.

Most importantly, as a result of this programme, new trials with a steel thickness of 0.10mm are already available. And simulations for 0.09mm thickness are on track.

Our research also focuses on increasing the formability of steel, to make appealingly shaped cans, and ensuring that products are compliant with increasingly stringent environmental and food safety regulations.

Lighter, safer, greener: a new era for steel and cars

With car manufacturers looking for ever-more environmentally friendly models, ArcelorMittal’s research and development (R&D) team has worked to design S-in motion, a way of using steel for lighter and safer vehicles.

Over two years, our R&D team developed 60 different steel solutions for 43 parts of the basic C-segment vehicle, known as the compact car in North America or the small family car in Europe.

Our steel that is used in the automotive industry is made from press-hardened steel (PHS) and advanced high-strength steel (AHSS), stainless steel and long products; PHS and AHSS are stronger steel grades. Thanks to their advanced resistance properties, we are able to make lighter vehicles by using more of these two steel grades in the car structure. In the basic C-segment vehicle, around 36% of the car’s metal structure, known as ‘body-in-white’, is made of PHS and AHSS products. In the S-in motion car, PHS and AHSS account for 54% of the body-in-white, reducing its weight by almost a fifth (19%).

The lighter structure of vehicles does not, however, compromise on safety. The S-in motion car performed above industry standards in a series of virtual safety tests, with most results reaching or exceeding the highest ratings of the Allianz Center for Technology (ATZ), the Berlin-based damage research institute, and European New Car Assessment Programme (Euro NCAP), the European car safety scheme.

Our optimised S-in motion car has significantly reduced carbon dioxide (CO²) emissions, from production to end-of-life phases. The superior environmental properties of our PHS and AHSS products cut emissions by 15% during production. On the road, the S-in motion car will have 13% less emissions than the basic C-segment vehicle. These reductions minimise emissions to 6.2 grams of CO2 per kilometre over the life of a vehicle.

S-in motion will enable our automotive partners to meet future regulatory and customer expectations for vehicles that are lighter and greener. The recyclable nature of steel also makes it a more sustainable material for automotive applications.

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